Tune into real life, not celebrities

Amber McKenna

Features editor

If you have ever flipped through the TV channels at 5 or 6 p.m., you have probably experienced the following:

You stop on a local news channel, and a story starts of a young kid gone missing. A friend chimes, “I don’t want to watch the news; it’s too depressing.”

You continue to flip and make it up to the double-digit channels where you may decide on a rerun of “Law and Order: SVU.” You get comfortable and watch the hour-long drama. The story unfolds about a young gymnast who was brutally kidnapped and eventually killed.

Now I ask this: How is this not depressing!?!

The American public has an obsession with realistic dramas, whether it is law enforcement, crime or medical.

Why do we avoid the news and instead settle on a gruesome tale in which blood and guts plots unfold before our eyes?

It is the same type of thing with celebrity gossip. We love to talk about just how messed up Britney is, and what crazy thing cracked-out Amy Winehouse will do next.

However, when someone talks about a friend of yours who is going through a bad time, how do you react? You’re angry of course; these things are private. If you were the subject of gossip, you would be hurt.

We’re all guilty; it’s hard not to be. The racks of tabloids practically shout out to us. Many seem to think they have a right to know what is going on in the lives of those in the public eye. What everyone needs to remember is celebrities are people, too. They have feelings, and they are trying to deal with some terrible things, things that happen to many people on a daily basis.

Celebrities don’t seem real to us, which makes them so easy to talk about. Rather than worrying about your friend with an eating disorder, you can ponder the weight of Nicole Richie. It makes it distant from yourself.

We thrive on the security blanket of fiction. The tabloids and TV dramas are just imitations of possible real-life experiences.

Watching the news, you hear names and see pictures of people who really exist. Stories are shared by real people who are affected by the events that occurred and you can see their emotion. But, we flip the channel or turn off the TV.

I do it too. It is hard to sleep when you think of some of the things that go on in the world. The fictional version makes it easier to digest. I, for one, am going to try a little harder to face reality.

My new goal is simple: For every hour of “CSI” or “House” I watch, I am going to watch a half an hour of news. If I catch myself reading about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’s theories on parenting, I’m going to give my own parents a call instead.

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